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Feb 6, 2013 8:36 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Southside residents rage about narrowing 36th Steet

TUCSON - Residents of a southside neighborhood are raging about plans the city has to narrow their major street.

The corridor in question is 36th Street between Campbell and Country Club. There are currently four lanes there, but the city wants to change that when they resurface the street this spring.

The plan is to repaint the road, making it only two lanes while adding a turning lane, bicycle lanes and some parking.

While some residents aren't on board, the city said it's simply about safety.

Neighbors living in the area like Cindy Ayala, who heads the Pueblo Gardens Neighborhood Association, are furious about it.

"They don't want the striping, we don't need it, we don't want it," Ayala said.

Willie Blake Jr. has lived in the neighborhood for the past 40 years and he said it's hard to understand the kind of impact it will have unless you live there.

"If you don't live in the neighborhood, it's not a bother to you," Blake said, adding: "We're the ones who live here."

Residents living along 36th Street say the traffic is already bad enough with ongoing construction nearby, but taking away two lanes on the road could prove disasterous.

"Because we're going to have traffic flying down Campbell ...We're going to have traffic flying through the neighborhood themselves," Ayala said.

However, Ann Chanecka, the lead planner for the Tucson City Department of Transportation said this adds in a much needed turn lane, adding to the overall safety of the roadway.

"A lot of crashes are caused by cars stopping when trying to turn left and so there's a lot of rear-end collisions and a lot of kinds of collisions that can be prevented," Chanecka said.

Simply put, Chanecka said, this change is about safety.

"A lot of communities are trying to improve roadways and some of the old mentality of trying to have the most lanes on a road has really changed to try and improve safety," Chanecka said.

As for the concerned residents, they're just looking to be heard.

"They also really need to go to the neighborhoods, they need to talk to the residents," Ayala said.

The city has already held a public meeting with the neighborhood on this topic. However, they urge any concerned citizens to let them know what they think.

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